Book Review – For Such a Time (Kate Breslin)


In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.
Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.
Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

For such a time was an excellently written book, with a depth that drew me into the story immediately. The plight of a Jewish woman during World War II was a compelling story. The book was written well, with excellent characterization. I loved the character of Hadassah, and found myself crying with her at several points in the story. Her struggle was so poignant. Aric’s character was intriguing, and I truly loved reading about his growth and change throughout the story. Joseph was the other character that I LOVED, though it hurt so much to read about the horrors that children during the time endured.

One of my favorite things about the story was the parallel to the story of Esther. Hermann, the main villain, was a good take on Haman. The message of faith and redemption came through loud and clear in the book, without being overbearing.

I did have a few complaints however. I felt that the romance moved a bit too quickly, to the point where I did not feel interested in the romantic aspect. I felt like that part of the book could have been a bit meatier, though I appreciate the overall innocence of the romance. There was also a bit of violence, but nothing too terrible. My biggest complaint however, were the historical inaccuracies. The author herself said that it was not entirely true to history, but some of the errors could have been avoided. I did not mind the fact that the biggest event in the book never really happened. It was really the little things. Dates, objects, minor events, that bothered me.

My rating: 4 out of 5


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